Monday, January 21, 2013

The miracles of age and loving your body

by Kristen Sommer

When I was younger, still a little girl growing up, I always thought that being ‘old’ was around the age of 30 or 35.
While my grandma was much older than 35, she was in a special section of thought labeled ‘never going to happen to me, so don’t think about it.’ This was a while ago when as a child the thought of driving, dating and ‘those adult things’ was not even real. My main concerns were A) Will Hulk Hogan always win against the bad guy, B)Why is He-Man more fun than She-Ra, and C) I can make clothes for Barbie?! Really?
In my thirties now, I am shocked and surprised. I do not feel ‘old’ at all, but I have matured. I still feel like a bouncy 21 year old, but what happened to being able to stay up all night and function perfectly the next day?
As I age, I come to new realizations and awakenings that simply boggle my mind. What used to function well suddenly has blips in the system. What I used to be able to do with fluidity and grace now takes a while to ‘warm up.’  How did this happen, and more than that, how did it all accumulate and pop up within a year?
As I (slowly) grow older, I realize the importance of caring for my body. This goes beyond the basic ‘eat well, exercise often’ philosophy. I realize that I need to truly love my body for it to function.
Having been a ‘pleasantly plump’ person my entire life (excluding two periods of skinny bliss), loving myself has always been a difficult task! I have found that with age comes acceptance. No longer do I harass myself about the jiggle in my arms and legs. I simply accept them as they are and am grateful that I still have the power to lift and maneuver them as I need to.
One knee is not as strong as it used to be and will frequently flare up with pain whenever I stand up. Instead of not moving it, I rub my hands to make them warm and then I massage my knee – thanking it for holding me up for so long.
Within a minute, it feels better and I regain full movement and flexibility in it. When my back aches for no reason, I rub it too, stretch out the kinks and soon enough it also ‘warms up’ to me and functions better.
Though I cannot stop the aging process, I find that I appreciate my body more and I thank it for all of its hard work. Despite the gradual decline in function, I marvel daily at how amazing the human body is, as well as what it does.
Though I too have my aches, I never fault my body for feeling them. To have this wonderful machine that still functions is a blessing. To be able to watch my body as it changes is also a blessing. Through this experience it is so much easier to help another through it. This experience also allows me to relate with others who have also gone through the process, giving me another way to bond with another.
So now that I am in my 30s, I wonder how it will be when I am ‘old.’  As I keep watching my body, I wonder what the next 20-30 years will bring and how those years will enlighten me.

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